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How does your garden grow?

With silver bells and cockle shells, and pretty maids all in a row…

Just before the slanting earth turns into the beaches of the Mediterranean, you’ll find Mas Les Ripouilles—home to a local vegetable farm and organic grocery store providing many of our picnics with fresh ingredients.

Follow the farm-stand signs past fields and orchards of sustainably grown produce, make the last dogleg into the main entrance, and you’ll feel transported to another life entirely. Chickens and ducks peck the ground at your feet, a long covered barn houses disheveled old farm equipment, and you’ll most likely be greeted by a field hand as the fresh harvest gets sorted and cleaned. Now that’s what we call fresh from the farm.

Farmers Nicolas and Corinne Payré took over the operation in 1990 from Nicolas’s parents who now run the onsite natural food shop and farm store. Mr. and Mrs. Payré were one of the first organic producers in the region when they converted the 10-hectare property to organic production in 1977. Since the younger set took over, 8 ½ hectares have been converted to biodynamic, following the lunar calendar and strict organic methods.

The farm is currently home to around 50 different vegetables and fruits, 30 pigs and a small set of poultry. Nicolas says he grows from organic seeds in organic soil that’s irrigated with clean water from the dam in the town of Vinca in the Tet Valley. “It’s living water,“ he says, “less polluted than the local water.”

It seems they’ve considered many details on this farm by the sea where the majestic Mount Canigou towers in the distance. Between the vegetables, flowers are planted for bees. You can buy these organic farm flowers and produce at the weekly farmer’s market in Perpignan or on Tuesdays and Fridays at the farm store. We do!

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